Best of NoVA 2018
Whether we see them on TV, listen to them on the radio or follow them on social media, here are the personalities that your fellow Northern Virginians love to get their news and draw inspiration from.
It’s probably time to dub Ryan Zimmerman as “Mr. National.” The franchise leader in home runs, RBIs, doubles and extra base hits had a stellar 2017 with 36 HRs, 108 RBIs and a .303 batting average. He is poised to set franchise records in hits and runs sometime in 2018 as well. –MB // nationals.com
The head coach of the Washington Redskins is entering year five with the team, making him the longest-tenured coach for the franchise since Norv Turner. Gruden’s teams have been competitive these last few years, just missing out on the playoffs in each of the last two years. With Alex Smith as his quarterback now, Gruden looks to get his team back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season. –MB // redskins.com
Elliot in the Morning
Northern Virginians have been tuning in to Elliot in the Morning since 1999 to hear the trademark laugh of host Elliot Segal and his irreverent takes on the topics of the day. He is joined in waking up the DMV by Diane Stupar-Hughes, Tyler Molnar and Kayleigh Smarrelli. –MB // dc101.iheart.com/featured/elliot-in-the-morning
Chad Dukes vs. the World
Whether it is the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Capitals or local restaurants and breweries, Chad Dukes doesn’t hide his opinion from the masses battling afternoon traffic in NoVA and D.C. A NoVA native, Dukes’ passion for these teams—and sometimes derision—is evident through the airwaves. –MB // thefandc.radio.com/shows/chad-dukes-vs-world
Prior to being elected in 2008 to represent Virginia’s 11th District (Fairfax County, Prince William County and the City of Fairfax), Connolly served 14 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He is now in his fifth term as a congressman and has worked to secure federal dollars for transportation improvements in NoVA, as well as other key legislative efforts. –MB // connolly.house.gov
Q.O.K. (Queens Over Kings)
Learn their names now—Kristyn, Jerald II, Loren, Ingrid and Hallie—because NoVA’s Q.O.K. (Queens Over Kings) is getting ready to hit the road for their 2018 tour. Their song, “Unknown Solider,” was inspired by their work with local organizations like Loudoun County Public Schools and FishingCommunity.org. –MB // qokmusic.com
With 41 novels to his name written for both adults and children, Fairfax-county resident David Baldacci is one of the more popular authors around. His novels, which include his Amos Decker, John Puller and Vega Jane series, have been published in over 45 languages in more than 80 countries. –MB // davidbaldacci.com
An abstract artist who works with acrylic, oils and watercolors, Seifert has made impressions across NoVA from her base in Old Town Alexandria. Her portfolio includes art work created for two Washington Nationals players and she did a commissioned piece for the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Dulles airport. –MB // nicoleseifert.com
In August 2017, We the Dogs DC got its start when a handful of area women who set up Instagram accounts for their canines decided to come together for a good cause. The five females behind the account juggle full-time jobs and volunteer their time to the 501(c)(3) organization, which works to support local animal rescue groups. Saying “there really is no better place for a dog than NoVA,” the women list Shirlington Dog Park and Grist Mill Dog Park among their favorites and also recommend waterside walks at Lake Accotink Park and Great Falls, plus strolls down Old Town Alexandria’s cobblestone paths. –RK // wethedogsdc.org
What started on Instagram (@TonyaMichelle26 ) as simply posting about all the things Tonya Michelle loved—with an emphasis on fashion and beauty products—grew into a full-fledged blog three years ago featuring reviews of products, giveaways, coupons and opportunities to shop what she wears. Tonya, a 31-year-old Ashburn resident, isn’t afraid to share how she got to where she is today, offering readers an opportunity to see how they can start their own blog and grow their following. –RK // tonyamichelle26.com
During the early days of dating, it’s not uncommon for a couple to gain a little, as Eat Yourself Skinny’s Kelly Gellner, a 33-year-old Warrenton resident, calls it “happy weight.” That’s what happened to Kelly and her now husband, Chris, back in 2011, which prompted the blonde blogger (who enjoys hiking at Sky Meadows State Park) to start making healthier meals, which Chris would take photos of and post on Facebook. The blog was a logical next step for Kelly, who loves getting tacos at Manassas’ Zandra’s Tacqueria. On her website, find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan and Weight Watchers recipes, photography advice, plus info for those looking to start their own blog. –RK // eatyourselfskinny.com
This mother of three knows a little something about every age group, this fall having one daughter in high school, a son in middle school and another daughter in elementary school. Robyn Davis, who has contributed to Washington FAMILY Magazine and makes bimonthly appearances on Good Morning Washington, has lived in Lake Ridge for the last 10 years, four of which have been spent blogging. On her site, Davis discusses upcoming events, new businesses, reviews products and offers advice on traveling, hosting parties and organizing moms’ night out events. So whether you’re a mother of girls, boys, teens, tweens or tots, Davis will likely cover something of interest to your family. –RK //momthemagnificent.com
Evening Male Anchor
What is your favorite part of NoVA? Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? Despite our wild weather, I’d miss the seasons here if I moved.
What is your best memory in NoVA? Looking up and over the Potomac at Fourth of July fireworks from the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be… Bike the trails out to Mount Vernon and tour Washington’s home.
What is your favorite part of NoVA? I just love the fact that I am from NoVA. Every time I drive through Fairfax County, I feel like I am home.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? I would miss Tysons Corner the most. I really enjoy taking the family to the mall, it has everything you need.
What is your best memory in NoVA? My best memory is of Reston Town Center. Once I got my driver’s license I was at that theater as much as I could be.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be … If it’s during the summer, I would tell them to check out Great Falls. I love to take the family hiking there. The falls are just spectacular.
Morning Female Anchor
What is your favorite part of NoVA? Northern Virginia has its own little “Koreatown” in Annandale. You can enjoy authentic Korean cuisine, sample Korean treats and learn more about the culture through the Korean Americans who are raising their families and contributing to their communities right outside of the nation’s capital.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? I would miss the diversity of the many communities that make up Northern Virginia.
What is your best memory in NoVA? I remember going to Kings Dominion with my family or church when I was a kid. I liked going on the old wooden roller coaster. I don’t do roller coasters anymore, but my kids like them.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be… Check out the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to see some super cool aircrafts up close. If it’s nice outside, go to Gravelly Point to watch the planes fly by.
You can go for a hike too.
Morning Male Anchor
What is your favorite part of NoVA? Shirlington. The little neighborhood has great restaurants and an awesome theater and it’s never overcrowded.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? I don’t live in Northern Virginia, but I do a lot of my everyday shopping in Arlington and Alexandria. I’d miss the ease of access and the fact that the area has everything I need.
What is your best memory in NoVA? I visited the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly during the 2015 Open House and got to see the original Star Trek Enterprise up close.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be … Visit Great Falls Park on a sunny day.
Evening Female Anchor
What is your favorite part of NoVA? Washington & Old Dominion bike trail.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? The people here—who are smart, aware and engaged.
What is your best memory in NoVA? Going to McKinley Elementary School.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be… Spend a day in Old Town Alexandria.
What is your favorite part of NoVA? My favorite part about Northern Virginia is being able to escape the hustle and bustle of the District. It’s not far from D.C., but when you head to NoVA you can get away and enjoy the history.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? What I would miss most are the people. Every time I visit a neighborhood in NoVA everyone is so friendly. You can be on the streets or in the malls and have a great experience.
What is your best memory in NoVA? My best NoVA memory is getting my wedding dress from Tysons Corner. The wedding is in June but I wanted to get my dress here in the DMV and thankfully found a beautiful one in NoVA.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be … You have to visit the shops and walk around Alexandria. Between the local shops, restaurants, ice cream and waterfront, it’s a great way to walk around, get a feel for the town and explore.
What is your favorite part of NoVA? Old Town Alexandria. It’s great for people watching; it’s like an urban kaleidoscope. Every time you go there you see something different. Walk a little, eat a little, see a site, grab a bite. Where did the day go? Who cares, let’s do it again tomorrow.
If you were to move, what would you miss the most? OK, a bit of a confession here: I am supposed to be on a diet, but sometimes I stray to the wonderful Heidelberg bakery. The bread, the pretzels, cakes, cookies…did I mention the cakes. Father forgive me, I’m getting that Heidelberg fever again.
What is your best memory in NoVA? No contest there—St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Alexandria. I was the Grand Marshal one year. I felt like the king of the world. This year we lost Pat Troy, the man who brought Ireland to Alexandria. He was a small man who made a big impact. He will be missed.
If a visitor asks, “What is the one thing I should do while here?”, your answer would be… Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museum out near Dulles. Planes; space craft; admission is free; $15 to park; stuff a car, pretend you’re going to a drive-in movie.